Saturday 17 August 2019

I can see again, says recipient of biggest ever face transplant

Patrick Hardison in before-and-after pictures
Patrick Hardison in before-and-after pictures

Kim Ripoll

The world's most extensive face transplant will let the recipient fulfil his dream of seeing well enough to drive again.

Volunteer firefighter Patrick Hardison (41) was badly burned in a 2001 blaze and is now recuperating after surgery at a New York hospital replaced the skin on all of his skull and much of his neck.

The surgery has paved the way for him to regain normal vision and he now says it will let him accomplish a major goal: "I'll start driving again."

The surgery began on August 14 and lasted 26 hours. It left no scars on Hardison's new face because the seam of the transplanted tissue runs down the back of his skull.

The donor was 26-year-old New York artist and competitive bicyclist David Rodebaugh. He had died of injuries from a biking accident.

Mr Hardison was burned on September 5, 2001, in Senatobia in north-western Mississippi. A 27-year-old father of three at the time, who had served for seven years as a volunteer firefighter, he entered a burning house to search for a woman.

The roof collapsed, giving him third-degree burns on his head, neck and upper torso. He had lost his ears, lips, most of his nose and eyelid tissue. Doctors sewed skin over his eyes to protect them.

Irish Independent

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